Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Book Review

 


Norse MythologyBook Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, Audiobook

Book Series: N/A

Released: 2/7/17 by W.W. Norton & Company

Pages: 304 Price: $25.95 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman fashions primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds; delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants; and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people. Gaiman stays true to the myths while vividly reincarnating Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, the son of giants, a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. From Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerges the gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to dupe others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.

My Review:

Decided to put this title on reserve when I was looking for books to listen to while I worked.  I thought this might be an interesting listen because of my enjoyment of the Thor movies by Marvel.  I also enjoyed Greek mythology as a teenager so what the hell, why not.  One last factor adding to my interest in these legends is that I come from Scandinavian descent.

Overall I enjoyed this book.  I might have missed some bits as I currently have the plague (flu) and am having trouble concentrating at times.  Being that this was a compilation of essentially short storied it didn’t matter much as I didn’t have to follow a long plot arch.  For those listening to the book, like me, it is narrated by the author which I thought was nice.

If you are a fan of the Thor franchise by Marvel please note that this will be different.  These are the legends that those stories are based upon.  It did amaze me how much of the comics, that the movies are based upon, are pulled from these stories.  There were plenty of characters and plot points that Marvel borrowed.

If you enjoy mythology, or Thor, or short stories, or Gods and Goddesses then this would be an interesting read that I recommend.  The audio version is short only 6 or 7 hours perfect for a day trip.

My Rating: 3 Stars

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Top Ten Tuesday: 2017 Favorites

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

 December 12: Top Ten Favorite Books of 2017

I’m not feeling well today so I’m hoping to churn out quite a few of these TTT posts and schedule them.  This week’s list is the ten books I enjoyed most in 2017.  I’m going to pick from my five-star reviews and link the picture to their reviews instead of their Goodreads page.  The books are listed in countdown order with book ten being my favorite of the year.

The Ten Books I Enjoyed Most in 2017.

  1. Immortal Unchained (Argeneau, #25) This long-established series is still one of my favorites.  I enjoyed the last edition immensely and have my fingers crossed that I’m approved for an e-arc of the upcoming release.
  2. Blood Vow (Black Dagger Legacy, #2) The third book in this spin-off Black Dagger Brotherhood series is going to release soon.  This is book two and I enjoyed it quite a bit but more for the glimpses of the Brothers than the main couple.
  3. Artemis The second book by Mr. Weir was not quite as good as The Martian but still highly enjoyable!
  4. Eleventh Grave in Moonlight (Charley Davidson, #11) Hard to believe this series only has one more book… Love this series and I’ll miss it.
  5. The Space Between the Stars This book was a surprise in that I requested it on a whim while looking for science fiction titles up for review.  It was so good I suggested it to the library I work for so our patrons could enjoy it too.
  6. Ready Player One This book was a total surprise as well.  I tried to read the next book by this author not once but twice then I decided to listen to the first book and absolutely loved it!  Was delighted to learn online today that there will be a second book.
  7. Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson, #10) After a disappointing book or two in this series, I was delighted to thoroughly enjoy this book.
  8. Reincarnation Blues Another whim of a request at Net Galley that ended up being a delight to read.
  9. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1) This was I recommended for purchase back in 2015 for my library when I was looking to bolster our science fiction collection.
  10. Blade Bound (Chicagoland Vampires, #13) This was my favorite read from 2017, hands down no question.  This was also the last book in the Chicagoland Vampires series and perhaps the most perfect series finally that I have ever read.

Well, there you have my list for this week.  What was your favorite read of 2017?  Leave it in the comments or share your Top Ten Tuesday list!

Monday Morning Check-In: I have the plague…

Good Monday morning everyone.  Not a lot of reading going on last week, again.  Some week I’m going to log on here and regale you all with all the books I managed to finish in the previous week.  Last week, however, was not a great week for reading.  I had to break my Facebook vacation to seek help after a dog attack on my livestock.  I came home from work to find two dogs chasing one of my llamas.  A Great Pyrenees the size of a small pony, and a young German Sheppard puppy, had killed one of my roosters, run off all my peafowl, and driven one of my llamas through a five-foot solid fence and over a gate into another pasture.  The poor girl was simply terrified and it took 20 minutes to walk her back to her flock after I convinced her to stand up.  I held on to the dogs overnight and turned them over to a rescue group the next day.  The owners have been found and the dogs returned but they have not stopped to offer to pay for the damage their dogs did.  I hope they never come back because next time they come to terrorize my pets my husband is going to shoot them.   The animals have recovered and are all returning to normal behaviors.  It was a traumatizing couple of days.

By the end of the week, I came down with some bug.  Either the flu or a cold all I know is that I feel like crap and it feels like I swallowed broken glass.  Today my plan is to sit on the couch, drink tea, and listen to an audiobook while I work on paperwork or knit.  I have two books to pick from one over 24 hours and the other just under 7.  I might pause the long one and knock out the short one so I feel like I accomplished something reading-wise.

Well, I have probably complained enough.  If you follow the blog on Facebook sorry if you’ve missed some posts.  Apparently, when I blocked the site during my Facebook vacation it severed my cross-posting ability.  I have logged back in and am going to try simply willpower to keep me off FB during my year-long break.  That way you can still have links to my posts.

Happy Reading, Amy

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Locals.

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

 December 5: Ten Bookish Settings I’d Love to Visit

I’m pretty sure we’ve done this topic before or at least one similar.  So this week’s list is simply going to be me scouring my Goodread’s read list looking for books set in locations I’d like to visit not necessarily books I loved the most.

Ten book location I’d like to visit.

  1. Some Girls Bite (Chicagoland Vampires, #1) Chicago: I’ve been to this city many times but I still haven’t done a Chicagoland Vampires tour of the city which is something I truly want to do.  Hmm.. Maybe during our December 2017 trip.
  2. Twilight (Twilight, #1) Washington State: This book and the next kind of go hand in hand as I would love to visit the Pacific NorthWest.
  3. Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, #1) Oregon State: See all the trees….  I love forests and the Pacific NW just sounds like a heavenly place to visit.
  4. Night Play (Dark-Hunter #5, Were-Hunter #1) New Orleans: So many vampire books are set here but the main reason I still want to visit this city is that my favorite series is set there.
  5. Bared to You (Crossfire, #1) New York:  I would love to visit this city but it intimidates me quite a bit.  I love how Chicago is set up like spokes on a wheel, it is easy for me to navigate.  New York and all its burrows just seem so confusing.
  6. Inferno (Robert Langdon, #4) Italy:  I almost had the opportunity to visit this country when I was in college but couldn’t find a way to afford it.  I would still like to visit someday and the husband and I are considering either a cruise or guided tour.
  7. The Rosie Project (Don Tillman, #1)  Australia:  I would also love to see Australia someday not necessarily because of this book, though.  This was definitely a case of hey I want to go here what books have I read that were set there.
  8. First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1) New Mexico:  Arizona is out of the question in terms of visiting for our family as I don’t agree with some of the choices the state has made politically but New Mexico might be a good choice for a state to visit in the South West.  Kind of just grasping at straws here for the remaining of the list…
  9. Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2) England, France, & Prague:  Not necessarily during the 1500’s like the book was set in but it would be fun to visit all these locations.
  10. Time for Yesterday (Star Trek: The Yesterday Saga, #2) USS Enterprise:  This is the fun or silly pick for this week’s list.  I’m such a huge Trekkie that of course, I would love to visit the Star Ship Enterprise.  Not sure which one, and I’d even be up for a visit on Voyager, but I would love it if it were possible to visit one of these ships and their crews.

Well, there you go, folks, my list for this week.  What bookish locations would you like to visit?  Leave a comment with either the local or a link to your own TTT list.

Month in Review: November 2017

Month in Review

Read this month: 4 Books, 1390 Pages 

Read this year: 72  Books, 18,398 Pages 

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1) The Chemist A Christmas Blizzard: A Novel Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

Looking Back:

Wow, I did not read much at all in November.  All of those books above are audiobooks I listened to…  Bad Amy.  I did manage to get some serious work done around the house and have almost finished a blanket I was knitting.  I also managed to DNF quite a few print books too.  Just a busy month and struggling to find something that interests me I guess.

Looking Ahead:

December might be a light month for reading as well.  Husband is going to have tons of time off near the end of the month and we will be going on a trip during the month.  If I can get some audiobooks listened to and two or three books I’ll call it good for the year.  It would be nice if I could make it to 80 books this year so maybe I will push myself a bit.  Husband makes it difficult though as with his time off recently for Thanksgiving and personal vacation I’ve not had a single day where he didn’t want to go do something…  I’ve taken to bringing my book in the car and read while he is driving.  So maybe eight short titles to round out the year.

Happy Reading ~Amy

Top Ten Tuesday: Winter TBR 2018

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

November 28: Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

The current reading phase I continue to be in does not gel well with planning long-term.  I continue to be a mood reader and have no idea what I might read over the winter.  I’m actually listening to more books than reading lately and the book I have access to is dependent upon what is available at my library.  Going through my Goodreads list not much caught my eye for titles I have to read right away.  So I’m going to select some titles in series I need to catch up on and a few new releases I have my eye on.  To be honest, though I have no idea what books I might or might not pick up this winter.

Ten books that I might read this winter.

  1. Baby, I'm Howling for You  I have an ARC of this book and hope to start it after I finish my current NF read.
  2. Blood Fury (Black Dagger Legacy, #3) I almost enjoy this Black Dagger Brotherhood spin-off series more than the main BDB series itself.  Looking forward to the third book in the Black Dagger Legacy series.
  3. The Invasion of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #2) This is perhaps the book I am most excited to read currently.  I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the first book, The Queen of the Tearling.
  4. Blade of Darkness (Immortal Guardians, #7) This book came out in September and I hope to get to this one after I review the title in spot #1.
  5. Resilient: 12 Tools for Transforming Everyday Experiences Into Lasting Happiness Almost forgot about this NF title that I requested through Net Galley.  I thought this might be a great book to read when taking into consideration the current state of my mental health.
  6. Six Wakes I needed to add a book to an Amazon order recently to get free shipping.  Don’t know much about this one beyond it was the right price and a science fiction title that looked interesting.
  7. Envy of Angels (Sin du Jour, #1)  This title was a free download in one of the newsletters that I subscribe to and has been sitting in my reading app looking interesting for a couple of months.
  8. Dragonsworn (Dark-Hunter, #28) This is from series that I need to catch up on.  This one gives me pause because I am afraid it will have similar problems as her last book and be mainly old plotlines.
  9. Insurrection (Nevermore, #1) This title caught my attention as it is a new series by my favorite author.  Unsure if it is a completely new idea or a spin-off from one of her other series.  Going to have to buy it to find out.
  10. The Chosen (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #15) Another book from a series I need to catch up on.  Most likely what will happen is the next book will release, I’ll buy it, and then I will read this one.

 

Well, there is my list for the week.  What titles are you looking forward to this winter?

How to Speak Chicken by Melissa Caughey

Book Review

 


Life According to Chickens: An Insider's View of the Language, Manners, and Rules of the FlockBook Genre: Non-Fiction, Rural Life, Chickens

Book Series: N/A

Released: 11/28/17 by Storey Publishing

Pages:144  Price: $16.95 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Buy the Book: Amazon  How to Speak Chicken: Why Your Chickens Do What They Do & Say What They Say

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publishers for an honest review.

Book Synopsis:

Best-selling author Melissa Caughey knows that backyard chickens are like any favorite pet — fun to spend time with and fascinating to observe. Her hours among the flock have resulted in this quirky, irresistible guide packed with firsthand insights into how chickens communicate and interact, use their senses to understand the world around them, and establish pecking order and roles within the flock. Combining her up-close observations with scientific findings and interviews with other chicken enthusiasts, Caughey answers unexpected questions such as Do chickens have names for each other? How do their eyes work? and How do chickens learn?

My Review:

What an incredibly sweet book!  I have been an owner of chickens since we moved to the country more than ten years ago and when I stumbled across this book up for review I didn’t hesitate to put in a request.  Especially since I am starting over with my flock after a series of raccoon attacks.  The title jumped out at me and I thought it might be an interesting read and perhaps give me some tips on how to communicate and bond with my new flock.  It provided that and so much more!

The book is broken down into five main section dealing with chicken calls, behavior, intelligence, motivation, and emotions.  All the while sprinkled with beautiful pictures, interesting interviews, and touching personal stories.  Being such a short book it doesn’t delve too deeply into any one topic but I tried out some of the chicken calls on my girls and did receive a reaction, much like what was described in the book.  If you are new to chickens this book isn’t an instruction manual on how to care for them, this publisher provides many other books that fit that bill.  This book is more of a touching look into flock life.

If you have chickens, want chickens, or know someone who loves their flock this book would make a great gift!  The only drawback I had is that with the beautiful pictures included in it made my e-reader a little slow to turn pages, so perhaps pick this one up in print.  Charming read.

My Rating: 5 Stars

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Book Review

 


The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)Book Genre: Fantasy, Dystopian

Book Series: The Queen of the Tearling #1

Released: 7/8/14 by Harper

Pages: 448  Price: $26.99 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Her throne awaits . . . if she can live long enough to take it.

It was on her nineteenth birthday that the soldiers came for Kelsea Glynn. They’d come to escort her back to the place of her birth – and to ensure she survives long enough to be able to take possession of what is rightfully hers.

But like many nineteen-year-olds, Kelsea is unruly, has high principles and believes she knows better than her elders. Unlike many nineteen-year-olds, she is about to inherit a kingdom that is on its knees – corrupt, debauched and dangerous.

Kelsea will either become the most fearsome ruler the kingdom has ever known . . . or be dead within the week.

Combining thrilling adventure and action, dark magic, mystery and romance, The Queen of the Tearling is the debut of a born storyteller blessed with a startling imagination.

My Review:

I don’t remember why I put this book on my hold list at the library, the wait was so long I had forgotten.  After listening to the book, though, I’m really glad I did!  It was so good and kind of exactly what I was searching for recently reading-wise.  The book isn’t perfect but the plot did pull me in right away and kept me wanting to know more.  This title is tagged as YA on Goodreads and I’m not sure why as this is definitely an adult fiction book.  Dealing with subject matter that might be a bit sensitive for younger teens to read.

So let’s start with the negative and get that business out-of-the-way.  I found it truly annoying that the author felt the need to pound it into our heads every chance she got that the Kelsea was not a conventional beauty.  So what.  Mention her appearance one and be done with it.  She also had every man Kelsea came across in the beginning of the story be described as handsome and out of her league looks wise.  Enough of that shit.  The only saving grace in this gripe is that this plot point diminishes near the end of the book and the author has given up her obsession with the character’s appearances.

Okay, moving onto what I enjoyed about the book.  All the political and social and class commentary of society!!!  This is what made this book work for me.  It was a bit confusing in the beginning and it took me a bit to figure out that this is set in our world in the future in a newly discovered piece of land.  I think… The author could have done a better job of setting up the world in this regards. Then again maybe I would have understood it better had I been reading it rather than listening to it.   Anyway, there are bits of our world and culture that showed up at times and kept me wondering just where the Tearling was supposed to be located.  Might need to get my hands on a physical copy of the book to see if there are any maps inside.

This is also, at its heart, a story of good vs evil and I always love stories like this.  They give me hope that someday we can overcome the corruption in society.  Inspires me to fight for the greater good and with the current direction, our country is taking this is exactly what I need to read about to keep myself from becoming too depressed.

Bottom line this story isn’t perfect but it is good.  I liked the fire inside Kelsea with her strict moral code and sense of justice Kelsea is a strong female lead and a true hero.  I absolutely can not wait to hear the next two books in this trilogy!

My Rating: 4 Stars

Monday Morning Check-In: I got nothing.

Good Monday morning everyone.  I tried to think up a clever title but couldn’t think of anything…  Not a lot of reading going on as my husband has time off, he needed to use his vacation days before the end of the year or lose them so he took this week off just to mess with my schedule.  Not really, but it feels like that as he seems to think I do nothing on my days off but lounge around the house waiting for him to make plans.  Sorry, slightly annoyed.  I’ve also started this Whole30 elimination diet which is going pretty good but might be making me a tad sugar-deprived crabby.

I do have a book review coming for you today as I binge listened to my current audiobook before it expired.  I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next two installments in the trilogy that I have already put on hold.  I am also reading a non-fiction title It Starts with Food written by the creators of the Whole30 diet.  Not the typical book I might pick up but I thought since I was doing the program I might as well read all their reasoning behind eliminating all these food groups.  Well, I know why but I have a library card and know how to use it so I thought I might check out the book.

Anyway, I have a review to write and might try to get some reading in before the husband thinks up something for us to do.  Have a great week!  Happy reading.

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

Book Review

 


The ChemistBook Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Romance, Mystery, audiobook

Book Series: N/A

Released: 7/11/17 by Back Bay Books

Pages: 528 Price: $28.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning. 

Now she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They’ve killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon. 

When her former handler offers her a way out, she realizes it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous. 

Resolving to meet the threat head-on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of. 

In this tautly plotted novel, Meyer creates a fierce and fascinating new heroine with a very specialized skill set. And she shows once again why she’s one of the world’s bestselling authors. 

My Review:

After having to return this book to the library and wait for another shot at it I finally was able to finish listening to it this week.  I was a big fan of Meyer’s Twilight an The Host and waited for ages for her to publish another book.  By the time she got around to releasing this title I had moved on from the author and lost interest in her work.  I have changed as a reader and had planned on skipping this book.  Then I needed something to listen to so I decided to give the audiobook a chance.  I’m glad I did but once this story was done I think this might be the last time I pick up one of her works.

I didn’t hate the story but felt it started out stronger than it finished.  While quite a bit darker than Twilight it does share many of the same traits. The first thing that started to bother me about the story is the truly bad example of a relationship between the lead characters.  At the time I didn’t have a problem with Bella and Edward’s disturbing relationship tendencies that many people criticised it for, after all, vampires don’t exist, I was able to suspend reality and accept an unhealthy relationship.  This did not work for me in The Chemist.  When you remove the paranormal element I expect something different and a person falling for their torturer just isn’t acceptable to me.  Then there was the pacing, the beginning and end of the book were action packed but the middle had a whole lot of nothing with all the dry bits about the dogs and helping Daniel adjust to this new life.  It just fell flat and a little too much like YA romance that felt like it could have been taken out of Twilight.

What didn’t feel like her most well-known series felt too much like her second series (that ended with one book…) The Host.  I kept thinking while the characters traveled that it felt like scenes pulled right from that other book.  I wanted something new but, not trying to be harsh, that Ms. Meyers has a certain type of story she likes to tell and while the characters might change and the conflict might come from a different source these are essentially the same story rehashed to fit another genre.  First, it was a girl falling for a dangerous sparkly paranormal boy, followed by a tough boy falling for a less dangerous alien girl science fiction, and now a good boy falling for a deadly spy in a suspense thriller.  I enjoyed all of these books but want something new now and I just don’t think Ms. Meyer will deliver.

That’s okay.  This is what works for her, more power to her especially if people continue to want to read her stories.  I, however, am not one of them.  So this is where I will say thanks for everything and move on.  It was great while it lasted.  I would be curious to reread Twilight someday and see what I thought of the story now.  Or perhaps not…  Why ruin the fond memories I have of a book that opened up a whole world of reading to me.

My Rating: 3 Stars